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CAP reform – fairer, greener, more efficient - 12/10/2011

A group of workers harvesting grapes © EU

Plan would revamp EU agricultural policy to secure food supply, protect the environment and ensure rural areas are developed sustainably.

Reforms to the common agricultural policy (CAP) after 2013 seek to help farmers adapt to the market’s changing needs and secure a sustainable food supply.

The proposals aim to make the best use of funds by encouraging farmers to become more competitive. Consumers would benefit from quality food at fair prices.

The measures include:

  • making support fairer, simpler and more focused – limit basic assistance to active farmers and cap it at €300 000 per farm per year and distribute funds more equitably among farmers, regions and EU countries
  • helping farmers cope with rapid changes in prices and demand – speed up support during economic crises
  • reserving 30% of CAP payments for farms using environment-friendly practices – support crop diversification, permanent pasture maintenance and preservation of natural areas and landscapes
  • targeting better research and innovation – double R&D funding, make research more relevant to farmers’ needs, and accelerate knowledge transfer from lab to field
  • empowering farmers – support farming organisations and promote more direct links with consumers by cutting the number of intermediaries
  • backing environment protection – make the fight against climate change and efficient resource use top priorities for rural areas
  • attracting younger farmers – support those under-40 during their first five years of farming
  • promoting rural employment and entrepreneurship – provide up to €70 000 over five years for small projects, for example
  • preventing desertification – provide additional funds for farmers in areas with natural handicaps
  • cutting red tape – make rules simpler, especially for small farmers, who would receive lump-sum payments from €500 to €1000 per year per farm

Thanks to previous reforms, CAP’s share of the EU’s budget has declined from almost 75% to 41%. The new proposals would fine tune available funds in a more targeted and efficient way.

They should come into effect in 2014, once approved by the European Parliament and national ministers in the Council of the EU.

More on the future of CAP

More on agriculture and rural development

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